Installing a standard toilet outside isn’t always feasible if the location is too far from the main drain. This is because you will need to lay new plumbing to facilitate the transfer of waste from the toilet to the main sewer line, a costly and time-consuming undertaking. So, is there an alternative?
You can put a Saniflo outside. It pumps waste horizontally or vertically via a thin, flexible PVC pipe that can easily be attached to the main drain. However, a suitable toilet site must be within 200 feet (60 meters) of the sewer, as that’s how far most Saniflo toilets can pump waste horizontally.
Read on to learn more about Saniflo toilets and why they might be the superior alternative when looking to install an outside toilet.
How Does a Saniflo Toilet Work?
To understand how Saniflos work, it is essential to have a brief overview of how regular toilets operate. This will allow you to understand the fundamental differences in their mechanisms of action.
How a Regular Toilet Works
A standard or regular toilet uses gravity to transfer waste to the sewer or septic tank. This makes sense since it eliminates the need to use machines to mechanically pump waste, thus making it a more cost-effective method.
As you can imagine, the location of a regular toilet is one of the first things contractors consider during the design phase of a construction project. All bathrooms must be strategically placed so they are directly above the main drain and vent pipe, allowing them to use gravity to empty their contents effortlessly.
Consequently, installing a regular toilet in a spot that wasn’t considered during the design phase can be extremely difficult, as it will necessitate extensive plumbing work, which is both expensive and time-consuming.
How Saniflo Toilets Work
Unlike regular toilets, Saniflos do not use gravity to transfer waste to the sewer. In fact, they can even move waste upwards, hence why they are also called up-flush toilets.
At first glance, a Saniflo resembles a typical toilet. However, this unit comes with a macerator, a machine that pulverizes waste before pumping it to the sewer.
As with standard toilets, you will need to flush the contents after use. However, that is where their similarities end. After flushing a Saniflo, the waste will travel to the macerator. The macerator has stainless steel blades that rotate rapidly to convert human waste and tissue paper into a liquid mixture.
Turning waste into a liquid makes it easier to transfer via thin piping. Some Saniflo units even come with inlets to allow your sink and shower to dump dirty water into the macerator.
After grinding the waste, the macerator will then mechanically pump the waste via thin PVC piping to the sewer.
That said, can you run Saniflo outside? Of course! Let me explain why below.
- Related Posts: Where Does Saniflo Waste Go? and Are There Saniflo Alternatives? (Answer: There Are)
Can Saniflo Be Installed Outside?
Based on what we have discussed, one can see the appeal of Saniflo toilets; they can be installed anywhere!
A Saniflo does not need to be directly above a sewer line to work. In fact, the primary motivator behind the conception of Saniflo toilets was the need to install washrooms in unideal locations without having to perform a major plumbing overhaul.
For example, you can’t install a standard toilet in your basement without having to do major changes to your home’s plumbing system.
A Saniflo can be installed outside. However, you must be within range of a sewer or existing soil stack because most Saniflo units have a limit to the distance they can pump waste horizontally or vertically. A solid Saniflo unit can pump waste a little over 200 feet (60 meters) horizontally.
Therefore, when scouting for a location to install a Saniflo outside, ensure that it is within at least 200 feet (60 meters) of a sewer line, soil stack, or septic tank. The next process should be easy, as all you need to do is connect the ¾-inch (1.91 cm) thin PVC line from the Saniflo’s macerator to the main drain.
However, you might need permission to connect to a drain pipe that is owned by the local water authority.
What To Consider When Installing a Saniflo Outside
You must consider the weather when installing a Saniflo outdoors. That is because your PVC pipe will be exposed to the elements.
As such, remember to bury the pipework to make it less vulnerable to the elements.
While Saniflos are touted for their ability to transfer waste without gravity, no one says you cannot use gravity to your advantage; you can increase the range your Saniflo can pump waste by laying the pipe on a slope.
Therefore, when digging the channel for the pipe, consider giving it a steady gradient/slope of at least ¼-inch (0.64 cm) per foot. Doing that will facilitate the ease of waste transfer or even increase the distance that your Saniflo can pump effectively.
While at it, remember that your Saniflo is a mechanical unit, meaning it is prone to breaking down from wear and tear. The macerator’s blades are particularly susceptible to wear and tear due to the constant grinding.
The only things that should go into a Saniflo are human waste and tissue paper, as those are what the blades are designed to liquefy. Throwing in any other item can cause the blades to malfunction, resulting in a useless Saniflo toilet.
Even the type of cleaner you use in the Saniflo toilet matters. You want to use a product that doesn’t have corrosive effects on the stainless steel blades. I recommend using the Liquid Fire Drain Cleaner from Amazon on your Saniflo. I love Liquid Fire since it is both non-caustic and non-corrosive, making it gentle on the Saniflo’s blades and PVC piping.
I have also written an informative article on using the Liquid Fire Drain Cleaner to keep your toilets in pristine condition. Please check it out.
If you have been wondering, “Can I run Saniflo outside,” I’m here to assure you that you can. The beauty of the Saniflo is that it can be installed anywhere, including outside!
Nevertheless, please ensure there’s a septic tank or sewer within 200 feet of the preferred location to allow the Saniflo to transfer waste effectively.